Experiments #ThroughGlass

Post by Amy Morgan 

Public reaction to Google Glass was never going to be kind. The virtual eyewear may look great on a model - but you get some really strange looks if you wear it on the bus...

The technology behind Glass definitely has a bright future though, which is why the Lab are testing it in a variety of scenarios.

This is our first full test - exploring a customer’s impression of Bromford properties at first viewing.

Using Glass we were able to capture what a potential customer says and feels, as well as what they focus on whilst viewing. This has enabled us to gather data around what we do well and what we can improve on.

What’s the point?

Most organisations assume they know what people want, but few try to see it through it the eyes of the customer. The purpose of these tests was to question ourselves and dive deeper into the customer experience of searching for a home with us.

Could we make it easier, less time consuming for both us and the customer - and in the process reduce the number of people refusing a property after viewing it?

Initial Results

So what have we learnt? Well in a word, lots! There is too much to discuss in any detail but here are some key findings:

Our advertising needs an overhaul - Social housing is often quick to criticise the private rented sector, but when it comes to marketing properties they have us beaten.

Comments from customers regarding the difference between the property they viewed and the corresponding advert led us to explore a bit deeper. We found that in some cases photos, if included, were out of date and information was patchy or didn’t exist, leaving potential customers to ultimately guess whether the property would be suitable for them. Quite often they lacked the pizazz and sell the best of the private sector do so well.

We need to explore the idea of being more flexible in what we offer – for instance some customers assumed that carpets would be provided as standard. This point has also been raised by our Twitter followers so seems an obvious choice for further exploration. Other customers expected a more consistent standard of decoration. 

We need more emphasis on getting the first impression right – It’s easy to forget how important the initial experience of seeing your new home is when you are in the job. In our tests our own colleagues consistently rated the appearance of homes better than potential customers did.

The average customer spent 15 minutes looking around the home. This might seem short but compares well with the national average of 20 minutes. The average homebuyer spends just 25 minutes. 

What’s next?

As you can probably tell we have lots of follow up work to do. The experience of moving into a home has been entered into the Lab pipeline for a full review. We've agreed we need much more consistency in the crucial part of the customer journey. There's opportunity for a lot more innovation in the information people have access to before they visit a home too. 

Using Google Glass we have been able to present the findings to customers and colleagues and the experience of seeing things from a customer perspective has caused a lot of debate.

Our Google Glass is now in demand for further tests and you'll hear more soon. 

[Note: all customers signed data protection consents and their films are being used for internal research only]